Business

Thumbnail image for McDonald’s Customers, Employees Not Lovin’ It

McDonald’s Customers, Employees Not Lovin’ It

by Doug Porter 01.23.2015 Business

By Doug Porter

Fast food giant McDonald’s is reportedly spending $3 million daily on U.S. advertising, yet business is declining. As the company has pumped up its menu to counter the explosion of fast-casual restaurants, food quality and service times have suffered. And increasingly negative image of the fast food industry as an exploiter of its workforce certainly hasn’t helped matters.

Last year was the company’s worst in three decades. Domestic sales actually declined by 1.7 percent. Global profits declined by 21 percent in the most recent quarter. Franchise owners are unhappy about menu bloat. Customers are confused by assorted pricing schemes. Employees are appearing on TV holding picket signs. And now the company is facing even more bad news.

A July ruling by the National labor Relations Board deeming the company a “joint employer” with its franchisees could spell big trouble, as 10 former workers at three McDonald’s locations in Virginia have filed a lawsuit alleging they were unceremoniously fired last May after being told by supervisors that there were “too many black people” working at their locations.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for What’s the Fix for San Diego’s Crumbling Infrastructure?

What’s the Fix for San Diego’s Crumbling Infrastructure?

by Doug Porter 01.22.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

Pssst! Got a spare two billion dollars? That’s a number being talked about in the search for a comprehensive approach to fixing San Diego’s deteriorating streets, pipes and public spaces.

The City of San Diego has issued a report outlining what it says are our infrastructure needs over the next five years, and it isn’t pretty. Our roads are falling apart. Public buildings like libraries and fire stations have repair needs that are mounting faster than the city can pay for them.

I’m told discussions about how to sell taxpayers on paying for this among the city’s big time players (led by the Chamber of Commerce) are already underway. While I don’t dispute the need to upgrade the bones of this city, whatever deal emerges to sell us on paying for it needs to include a whole lotta people who’ve been getting the short end of the stick lately.

Read the full article → 10 comments
Thumbnail image for OB’s People’s Food Expansion Plans Put on Hold

OB’s People’s Food Expansion Plans Put on Hold

by Frank Gormlie 01.21.2015 Business

Organic Store Had Agreement With “Tiny” of Tiny’s Tavern Before His Recent Passing

By Frank Gormlie

The expansion plans of Ocean Beach’s largest employer, the famous OB People’s Organic Food Market, have been placed on hold due to the unfortunate and untimely death of “Tiny”, the owner of Tiny’s Tavern.

The market co-op, which is a mainstay on Voltaire Street in OB, has just recently purchased the two parcels of land directly to the store’s east, one containing a duplex and the other containing Tiny’s Tavern. And part of the store’s expansion plans were based on an agreement with “Tiny” who was on the verge of retiring from operating his bar and small grill. “Tiny” – the nickname of Alan Kajiwara – had planned to use the land sale to the co-op as a push for him to move back to Hawaii where he has family, but his fatal stroke at the age of 54 ended all that.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Richest 1% Percent To Have More Than Rest of Humanity Combined

Richest 1% Percent To Have More Than Rest of Humanity Combined

by Source 01.21.2015 Business

New Oxfam report shows the scale of global inequality is ‘simply staggering’

by Jon Queally / Common Dreams

In less than two years, if current trends continued unchecked, the richest 1% percent of people on the planet will own at least half of the world’s wealth.

That’s the conclusion of a new report from Oxfam International, released Monday, which states that the rate of global inequality is not only morally obscene, but an existential threat to the economies of the world and the very survival of the planet. Alongside climate change, Oxfam says that spiraling disparity between the super-rich and everyone else, is brewing disaster for humanity as a whole.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for “The Solid Citizenry of Ocean Beach are Aroused.”

“The Solid Citizenry of Ocean Beach are Aroused.”

by John Lawrence 01.20.2015 Activism

Complaints About Homeless Have Echoes

By John Lawrence / OB Rag

The solid citizenry of Ocean Beach are aroused. For some time now, there has been a virtual state of war existing between businessmen and merchants, on the one hand, and homeless on the other. The growing homeless community in OB has been met with growing alarm on the part of the established citizenry.

Those with Establishment interests want to drive the homeless out of OB since they view them as a treat to their businesses and are offended by the mores and folkways of the homeless youth culture. Homeless contribute very little economically to established businesses and tend to scare away more conventional people who would have patronized these businesses. Homeless people have been refused service at several places of business and in turn have taken revenge through acts of vandalism and theft. Because of this, insurance companies have raised the rates charged to OB businessmen.

Recently, there have been several public acts of sexual intercourse including screwing on the front lawn (an all-time first in San Diego according to some sources) which established citizens feel set a bad example for their own families.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Civita: The Largest Project in the Continued Destruction of Mission Valley

Civita: The Largest Project in the Continued Destruction of Mission Valley

by Frank Gormlie 01.13.2015 Business

Part 2

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag
In mid-October I wrote about how four large residential and commercial development projects and a handful of smaller ones slated for Mission Valley will complete the destruction of San Diego’s once lush green valley. Here, I begin to focus on the individual projects.

“Civita” roughly translated is Latin for citizenship, and it’s the name of the largest, most massive Mission Valley development going in right now – with perhaps a third already completed or being currently built. Once you step back and realize it’s scope, Civita is at once a horrifying and amazing place for all its audaciousness.

Read the full article → 10 comments
Thumbnail image for Redefining the American Dream

Redefining the American Dream

by John Lawrence 01.13.2015 Business

By John Lawrence

The American Dream is the ideological underpinning of the middle class. Now that the middle class is disappearing, it no longer makes sense as historically defined.

Thom Hartmann (Rebooting the American Dream) and Hedrick Smith (Who Stole the American Dream) have defined the American Dream as a good job at good wages plus benefits. They bemoan the fact that this has pretty much gone by the wayside in today’s world.

Well, it’s time to get over it because the conditions that gave rise to middle class prosperity in America from 1945 to 1980 are not coming back.

Read the full article → 4 comments
Thumbnail image for Mental Health Professionals Strike at Kaiser Permanente

Mental Health Professionals Strike at Kaiser Permanente

by Doug Porter 01.12.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter 

Protesting what they’re calling systematic under-staffing, 2,600 psychologists, therapists and social workers have called a week-long strike at Kaiser Permanente medical centers.

Organized by the National Union of Health Workers (NUHW), there are 65 picket lines in 35 California cities in responding to failed negotiations with the company.

Back in September, Kaiser agreed to a $4-million fine levied by state regulators. The Department of Managed Health Care found patients had excessively long wait times to get a therapy appointment, or were shuttled into groups when they wanted individual therapy.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for The Reality Tale of Two Education Systems: One for the Poor, and One for the Rest

The Reality Tale of Two Education Systems: One for the Poor, and One for the Rest

by Source 01.12.2015 Business

New data reveals our public—not private—school system is among the best in the world

By Paul Buchheit / AlterNet

New data reveals our public—not private—school system is among the best in the world. In fact, except for the debilitating effects of poverty, our public school system may be the best in the world.

The most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reveal that the U.S. ranked high, relative to other OECD countries, in readingmath, and science (especially in reading, and in all areas better in 4th grade than in 8th grade). Some U.S. private schools were included, but a separate evaluation was done for Florida, in public schools only, and their results were higher than the U.S. average

Perhaps most significant in the NCES reading results is that schools with less than 25% free-lunch eligibility scored higher than the average in all other countries.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for A Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party, San Diego Style

A Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party, San Diego Style

by Doug Porter 01.09.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

Oh, the drama. As the dates approach for the Democratic party election in San Diego for delegates to the state party convention, a behind-the-scenes rebellion against the current party leadership is going on.

Steve Rivera, an event coordinator for the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice is challenging current party Chair Francine Busby,  Wounds within the party dating back to the Filner scandal and the Fletcher vs Alvarez contest have been re-opened.  Emotions are running high. Backroom caucuses are running late into the night.

Activists, disillusioned by what they perceive as ineffective leadership and a lack of support for progressive candidates and causes, are challenging the old guard. Based on what I’ve been able to piece together it appears (the vote isn’t until January 20th) the established leadership will weather the crisis. But the rebellion is, at a minimum, symbolic of the lack of faith many rank and file members have in the Democratic Party.

Read the full article → 20 comments
Thumbnail image for National Campaign to Increase Minimum Wage Takes Aim at San Diego

National Campaign to Increase Minimum Wage Takes Aim at San Diego

by Doug Porter 01.08.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

San Diego is one of seven cities selected by the national AFL-CIO for a long-term effort to concentrate political and economic actions aimed at making increasing the minimum wage an issue in the next presidential election.

The labor federation’s President Richard Trumka announced the nationwide campaign Wednesday during first National Summit on Raising Wages, held at  Gallaudet University Washington, District of Columbia. More than 300 activists and labor leaders along with thousands of other people watching a live stream video also heard speeches by Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

The AFL-CIO effort will kick off with statewide Raising Wages Summits in 2015 in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina, typically the first four presidential primary states.

Read the full article → 3 comments
Thumbnail image for Behold! An Opportunity for San Diego Democrats to Get Their Act Together

Behold! An Opportunity for San Diego Democrats to Get Their Act Together

by Doug Porter 01.07.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter
_______________________

Hours after members of its staff were murdered, the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo brought its website back online with a “Je Suis Charlie” graphic, which has become the image of social media solidarity. (See story in column inside)
_______________________

Are you sick and tired of elected Democrats who don’t act like Democrats? Does the phrase “herding cats” come to mind when assemblypersons in Sacramento can’t even get it together on things like climate change? Are you tired of voting for lesser of two evils? Can I get an “Amen?”

Well, you’re in luck. With a small investment of time this weekend Democrats in San Diego can help select delegates to the state party convention, the body that makes endorsements ( a critical step in our top-two primary system) and writes the state party platform, among other things.

Today’s column will start off by telling you how to participate and where to get information on some of the choices available. Mind you, this election won’t fix everything wrong with the party of FDR, but it’s a start.

Read the full article → 18 comments
Thumbnail image for Is This Graffiti or Not?

Is This Graffiti or Not?

by Frank Gormlie 01.07.2015 Business

Billboard Linked to OB Lawyer an Eyesore in East County

By Frank Gormlie

We all think we know what graffiti is when we see it, especially spray-painted tagging team symbols.

But aren’t there other types of graffiti?

How about the marking of public space by a group or company that mars that public space for a profit? That marking and marring of public space can be done by a commercial sign or billboard.

Read the full article → 4 comments
Thumbnail image for A View on Cuba’s Opening From the De Facto U.S. Colony of Puerto Rico

A View on Cuba’s Opening From the De Facto U.S. Colony of Puerto Rico

by Source 01.07.2015 Business

The hard questions of the Obam-apertura.

By Ed Morales / NACLA

The “momentous” yet seemingly long-planned announcement that the United States and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations was an odd end to a chaotic year of crises and strife.

From the summer of renewed violence in Gaza and the surge of unaccompanied children on the Mexican border to the anguish of Mike Brown/Ferguson and Eric Garner/Staten Island and the disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa, there seemed to be no end to conflagrations of long-stirring conflicts that expose the myth of American exceptionalism.

The cost of freedom in the first-est of First Worlds that we live in is the increasing precariousness of life outside our borders—a carnage that is often not connected to our comfort, yet is a result of the burgeoning inequality created by the gospel of globalization. Yet now, perhaps one of the sorest points of contention in the hemisphere, the 50-year U.S.-imposed embargo of Cuba, is finally being acknowledged as a mistake.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Gov. Brown’s Legacy, DA Dumanis Forever and Human Rights in Mexico in the News

Gov. Brown’s Legacy, DA Dumanis Forever and Human Rights in Mexico in the News

by Doug Porter 01.06.2015 Activism

By Doug Porter

There was a whole lotta swearing going on yesterday around California, as state and local officials took oaths promising to obey the constitution and whatever else it is they’re supposed to do. Today we’ll look at some of the promises made as politicians used the opportunity to talk about the future.

In Sacramento Gov. Jerry Brown made headlines, announcing a sweeping plan to address climate change. After taking the oath for his fourth and final term, Brown used his inaugural speech to proclaim that California must lead the way if the world is to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius.

In San Diego county supervisors Bill Horn and Ron Roberts were sworn in for their final term limited time. Also taking the oath were Sheriff Bill Gore, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Assessor/Recorder/Clerk Ernest Dronenburg, Jr., and Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister.

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for The Bail-In: How You and Your Money Will Be Parted During the Next Banking Crisis

The Bail-In: How You and Your Money Will Be Parted During the Next Banking Crisis

by John Lawrence 01.06.2015 Business

By John Lawrence

There will be no more taxpayer bailouts for the Big Wall Street banks. That much has been established by the lobbied to death Dodd-Frank banking reform (yeah, right) bill.

However, instead of taking money from the government (taxpayers), the principal has been established that the next source of money for profligate banks will be your deposit accounts. Yeah, that’s right, the money to stabilize the banking sector during the next crisis will come out of your savings and checking accounts.

To add insult to injury – since the banks pay you zero percent on your savings account in the first place – the banks have the right to confiscate your funds if they crash the economy again as they did in 2008. Remember the Great Recession? It’s coming again to a bank near you.

Read the full article → 20 comments
Thumbnail image for Not So Happy New Year: Obama Pushing Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2015

Not So Happy New Year: Obama Pushing Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2015

by Jim Miller 01.05.2015 Business

By Jim Miller

Last week, I wrote about Project Censored’s Top 25 most underreported stories, one of which was “Wikileaks Revelations on Trans-Pacific Partnership Ignored by Corporate Media.” Coming in at number three on their list, Project Censored notes that what is important about this story is that :

Eight hundred million people, and one-third of all world trade, stand to be affected by the treaty—and yet only three people from each member nation have access to the entire document. Meanwhile, six hundred “corporate advisors,” representing big oil, pharmaceutical, and entertainment companies, are involved in the writing and negotiations of the treaty.

The influence of these companies is clear, as large sections of the proposal involve corporate law and intellectual property rights, rather than free trade. Corporations could gain the ability to sue governments not only for loss, but prospective loss. At the same time, patents and copyrights would see more protection. This means longer patents, leading to less access to generic drugs, and a lockdown on Internet content. Commenting on the leaked TPP chapter, which details how corporations could seek financial compensation for non-tariff barriers to trade, Arthur Stamoulis of the Citizens Trade Campaign observed, “The Tribunals that adjudicate these cases don’t have the power to literally demand that a government change its policies, but they can award payments worth millions and even billions of dollars, such that if a country doesn’t want additional cases brought against it, it gets the line.”

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for 12 Days of Christmas Apologies

12 Days of Christmas Apologies

by Source 12.23.2014 Business

By Paul Buchheit / Common Dreams

If Christmas magic were real, America’s political and business leaders — the people with power and money — would speak on behalf of the nation they’ve debased:

1. To Our Most Neglected Citizens

By the time the Koch brothers wake up on Christmas morning, the wealth the two men will have accumulated throughout the night could get a room for the night for every one of the 633,000 homeless Americans.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Sony Pictures Cyber Attack: Pearl Harbor or Forrest Gump?

Sony Pictures Cyber Attack: Pearl Harbor or Forrest Gump?

by Doug Porter 12.18.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Yesterday Sony Pictures did what many businesses would in similar circumstances – it assessed risks relative to reward and chose to pull the plug on a soon-to-be-released movie comedy, ‘The Interview.’

The $44 million film staring Seth Rogen and James Franco about an assassination attempt on North Korea’s leader was supposed to debut on Dec. 25, Christmas Day.

Now it’s dead in the water, with company reps saying, “Sony has no further release plans for the film.”

This decision was the end result of a hacking of Sony’s computer system by the “Guardians of Peace,” a group the US government says has links to North Korea. Unreleased films, company emails, employee information, threats to employees and their families and promises of violence against theaters and the public have all surfaced on the internet in recent days.

Today I’ll take a look at the implications of both the attack and Sony’s decision to capitulate.

Read the full article → 4 comments
Thumbnail image for The City Council’s Symbolic Re-Vote on Lightner as President

The City Council’s Symbolic Re-Vote on Lightner as President

by Doug Porter 12.16.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

It’s business as usual in San Diego. Amid concerns that last week’s city council election of Sheri Lightner as president, may have followed meetings in violation of the Brown Act, a special meeting has been called today to affirm the decision.

NBC7 reported last week on what might be “serial meetings,” one-on-one private sessions involving six council members. They passed on the findings to the City Attorney’s office.

Since that decision Councilwoman Lightner has been acting as president. I believe her election was orchestrated by local business interests as retaliation for Councilman Todd Gloria aggressive support of a local minimum wage ordinance.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for SDFP Editors Debate To Publish or Not to Publish a Submission

SDFP Editors Debate To Publish or Not to Publish a Submission

by Staff 12.16.2014 Activism

An open letter from Dr. Fredi Avalos generates discussion on SDFP’s role in critiquing the Left and movement building

By San Diego Free Press Editorial Board

How do we reconcile our differences on the Left to more effectively fight a common enemy?

The San Diego Free Press does not publish every work that is submitted. The four daily editors determine whether a submission meets our criteria for quality of writing and compatibility with our mission of providing grassroots news and progressive views.

There have been a few times when we have declined to publish articles that were articulate and authored by respected members of the SDFP community of contributors and readers. When this occurs, it is a result of discussion and a final vote of the full editorial board, in which the majority position is reflected and the contributor is advised of our decision.

Read the full article → 17 comments
Thumbnail image for Bankers, Pot Smokers Get Holiday Gifts in DC Budget Bill

Bankers, Pot Smokers Get Holiday Gifts in DC Budget Bill

by Doug Porter 12.12.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

The The Grinch was alive and well yesterday as the House of Representatives passed a compromise “CRomnibus.” The word is politi-speak for a combined continuing resolution (to keep funding the government) and omnibus (comprehensive budget) legislation.

A rebellion on both sides of the aisle nearly blocked passage of the bill. Conservatives wanted to make more of a statement about the President’s executive order on immigration. Progressives were steamed about language –actually written by lobbyists–rolling back financial industry reforms put into place following the 2009 economic collapse.

But there’s so much more to see here. In these days of Congressional gridlock and Obama derangement syndrome, a bi-partisan leadership group (House Republicans and Senate Democrats) deemed it necessary to drop a document bigger than War and Peace on Tuesday,  expecting a vote in less than 72 hours.

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for Vacation Rentals In San Diego Under More Scrutiny

Vacation Rentals In San Diego Under More Scrutiny

by John P. Anderson 12.12.2014 Business

Vacation rental property owners targeted for missing tax payments

By John P. Anderson

I have a small cottage that I rent out to visitors via the vacation rental website Airbnb. The cottage is on the same property as my home and I did not think that vacation rental taxes in San Diego applied to my situation.

The taxes in San Diego for vacation rentals are the transient occupancy tax (TOT) and tourism marketing district (TMD) assessment. The rates for a property like mine from these taxes total 11.05% of gross rent – 10.5% TOT and .55% TMD, there is also a higher 1.45% TMD rate that applies to lodging businesses with 30 or more units.

Read the full article → 3 comments
Thumbnail image for ‘Just Call Me Todd’ Gloria Gets the Boot as City Council President

‘Just Call Me Todd’ Gloria Gets the Boot as City Council President

by Doug Porter 12.11.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Depending on who you talk to, the City Council’s 7-2 vote yesterday to elect District One’s Democrat Sherri Lightner as President over Todd Gloria was either a victory for evil reactionaries or the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

Looking at the two Councilpersons voting records prior to 2014, there doesn’t seem to be much of an ideological difference. The San Diego Labor Council declined to endorse both Gloria (rated by them at 60%) and Lightner (54%) in the 2012 election. So what’s the big deal?

Today we’ll take a look at the debate this decision by the council has spawned and my best guess as to what the consequences will be.

Read the full article → 4 comments
Thumbnail image for State Department Selected Chevron as Finalist for “Corporate Excellence” Award

State Department Selected Chevron as Finalist for “Corporate Excellence” Award

by Source 12.11.2014 Activism

By Dan Bacher

It’s hard to believe, but the Obama administration recently selected Chevron, the San Ramon-based corporate giant known for environmental destruction and the violation of human rights throughout the world, as a finalist for its “corporate excellence” award!

According to a State Department press release, “The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs has announced the selection of nine finalists for the Secretary of State’s prestigious 2014 Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE).”

Read the full article → 3 comments